COVID-19: India-Bhutan border trade via Bengal suspended due to lockdown in Himalayan kingdom

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Updated: Aug 12, 2020 7:00 PM

Even though three districts of West Bengal --Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Kalimpong -- share a border with Bhutan, the major chunk of trade with the Himalayan kingdom takes place through the Jaigaon-Phuentsholing section.

The border gates between India's Jaigaon and Bhutan's Phuentsholing were closed after the total lockdown came into force in the neighbouring country on Tuesday, an Alipurduar district official said.The border gates between India’s Jaigaon and Bhutan’s Phuentsholing were closed after the total lockdown came into force in the neighbouring country on Tuesday, an Alipurduar district official said.(Representative image/ Reuters photo)

Trade across the India-Bhutan border through Jaigaon in West Bengal’s Alipurduar district has been suspended following the imposition of a coronavirus-induced lockdown in the Himalayan kingdom, an official said on Wednesday. The border gates between India’s Jaigaon and Bhutan’s Phuentsholing were closed after the total lockdown came into force in the neighbouring country on Tuesday, an Alipurduar district official said.

“Border trade through Jaigaon has stopped completely. However, no vehicle has been stranded on either side of the border as the Bhutan administration had informed the Alipurduar district authorities beforehand about the lockdown, giving us adequate time to take appropriate measures,” he said.

Even though three districts of West Bengal –Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Kalimpong — share a border with Bhutan, the major chunk of trade with the Himalayan kingdom takes place through the Jaigaon-Phuentsholing section.

Jaigaon serves as a major gateway for Bhutan to the rest of India through Siliguri that lies around 150 km west of the border town. Bhutan mainly exports traditional dresses and ornaments, honey, ginger and milk products through Jaigaon, while it imports vegetables, food grains, medicines, textiles and tea from India, sources said.

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